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Get more engagement with Instagram’s humble hashtag (a three point plan to using hashtags in Instagram)

By Savanah Dougans


Read Time: 5 Minutes

Do you want more interactions with your posts on social media? Of course, you do – but wouldn’t you rather have meaningful interactions? And what about using hashtags in Instagram? Where do they go and how do they work?

The world of social media is as varied as its participants, people from every walk of life use it. If you’ve identified a demand for a product or service, and you’re using social media to get the word out, it can be difficult to get ‘seen’. You know there’s a demand for what you do but it feels like the right people aren’t finding you. Perhaps, even Facebook’s paid advertising service isn’t translating into sales quite as you’d hoped.

If only you could show your posts to people you know are interested in your topics, even if they’ve never heard of your business. That would boost your engagements and impact how well you can sell your wares online.

If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll equip you to categorise your posts to ensure more people can find them. You don’t need an advertising budget. You need a little time, patience, and the steps we’re giving you in the next section.

Enter stage left: The humble hashtag and how to use them in Instagram

We’ve all seen this online, it can be pretty annoying. Reams of #tags under social media captions that sometimes go on for longer than the post itself. If you didn’t know better, you’d think the real message lay buried somewhere in amongst the # signs.

Let’s unpack why people use hashtags and how you can revolutionise your readership and boost your engagements with well-planned hashtags.

We’ll also discuss how to use them responsibly to prevent your posts from looking like a homeless shelter for symbols.


Point one: The point of a hashtag

Hashtags increase your business’ visibility on social media by boosting each posts’ views. There are a number of reasons for this – most importantly because Instagram now gives people the option to follow hashtags and not only accounts.

That means someone who is interested in trying out DIY hairstyles doesn’t need to follow hairstylists’ accounts to get the latest DIY tips, she could subscribe to the hashtag #DIYhair.

Any and every stylist or at home DIYer that posts a tutorial with that hashtag will appear in her feed. From there, she may see certain stylists or individuals consistently posting handy tips and she may then opt to follow their accounts. This may translate into business for her favourite stylists.

This is why hashtagging your marketing material is imperative. You’ve taken the time to put together stellar content, sharing your wisdom and handy insights from within your industry. That was hard work! Forgoing the hashtag is equivalent to baking a cake to keep in your pantry cupboard. If you’ve taken the time to gather the ingredients, prepare them, bake the recipe and then decorate it – why let it gather ants?

Unlike milkshake, a good cake will bring the boys and the girls to the yard – the yard being your business. Using hashtags is like ringing a little mealtime bell, alerting all those listening that there is cake available.

Point two: The #GoldenRules of hashtagging

Content is king, so make sure your message is strong. It’s no use making a weak message easy to find. Remember, the number one rule of content marketing is to add value to the internet. Learn more about that, here.

Don’t obliterate your message with hashtags. Instagram allows you to use 30, but that number might not be optimal for your post. There are various studies to identify the optimal number of tags to increase engagement with your posts. The general consensus is that 9 – 11 hashtags is the sweet spot but it’s unbelievably industry-dependent. It is important to select tags that are relevant, if they become spammy you will lose engagements.

Also – remember people can opt out of your posts if they search a hashtag and feel your posts are not relevant. This is an algorithm designed to give users a good experience. If too many people opt out, Instagram will display your posts less frequently, reducing your reach and thereby, your engagement.


Point three: A hashtag strategy to revolutionise readership

There are three important types of hashtags to include in your content. For some posts, you may only use one type, for others, you may need all of them. It is important to put thought into this process and plan your strategy accordingly. Ask yourself what the purpose of your post is, are you trying to sell a product directly? Gain readership by getting followers? While the hashtags themselves compartmentalise your industry, these three categories will compartmentalise your goals.

Brand hashtags in Instagram
Create your own #tags clients can use to tag themselves when they refer to you. This is a powerful way to build brand awareness for your business online by spreading the word. It also increases engagement, which brings a balance to the tendency we have to simply broadcast. You’re encouraging people to communicate back to you.

Industry hashtags in Instagram
Reach like-minded people already in search of what you offer. Ideal if you’re looking to sell something fast. If someone is in the market for strawberries, and you’re a strawberry farmer, using the #strawberry will help your posts to be found.

Trending hashtags in Instagram
Reach people that follow trends while you stay relevant to your industry. Not only are you distinguishing your business as one of the cool kids, but you’re also broadcasting using a bigger microphone – increasing the chances of being found.

Extra tips:

  • Be specific. Generic #tags will get more viewers but fewer engagements
  • Always research #tags before using them. Make sure you’re not piggybacking on a serious trending #tag with a lighthearted post – you may cause serious offence and damage your online reputation irrevocably.
  • Don’t spam! Use your #tags responsibly so your message – your image and caption – remains crystal clear.
  • Take some time to create hashtags that are meaningful to you. List them under each category, ensuring you have a good number on hand when you post. Take the time to research your hashtags thoroughly and refresh them regularly.

Getting the help your business needs

If you feel you would like to expand on this plan and learn how to implement it into your specific niche, consider the once-off cost of a consultation. A consultation equips you with the know-how you need to pursue this expertly to see visible results, fast.

Contact Brand Candy, we are happy to sit with you draw up a social media plan specific to your niche in order to achieve your goals. Alternatively, learn more Instagram tricks in this blog. For more info, you know where to find us: